Products subject to excise duties
The following products are known as excise goods:
- Alcohol/alcoholic drinks
- Energy products and electricity
- Tobacco products
Excise duties must be paid on them when they are produced or traded. The EU sets the minimum amount of excise duties payable for each of the products and EU countries (In this case, the 27 EU member states) may impose other taxes as well.
Read more about the rules in each EU country.
Find out more about how excise duties are applied to specific products by choosing from the options below.
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The following types of alcohol and alcoholic drinks are subject to excise duties:
- Beer or mixtures of beer with non-alcoholic drinks
- Other fermented drinks such as cider
- Intermediate products such as sherry or port
- Ethyl alcohol/Spirits
View the full list of excise duty rates applicable in the EU on alcohol/alcoholic drinks.
Reduced rates and exemptions
Certain EU countries may choose to reduce the amount of duty payable or accept exemptions from paying duties:
- Small breweries that produce a maximum of 200 000 hectolitres (hl) of beer per year, and distilleries that produce a maximum of 10 hl of pure alcohol per year, can benefit from up to 50% off the standard duties.
- Reduced rates of excise duty may apply to wine and fermented drinks of 8.5% alcohol by volume or less, beer of 2.8% alcohol by volume or less, intermediate products of 15% alcohol by volume or less and ethyl alcohol of 10% alcohol by volume or less.
Excise duty doesn't need to be paid on most homemade products that aren't produced for commercial purposes, except for spirits.
Alcohol used to manufacture other products not intended for human consumption or made unfit for human consumption by adding one or more chemicals (denaturants) to it.
Energy products and electricity
Energy products and electricity are subject to excise duties when used as:
- motor fuel
- fuel for heating
Energy products not covered by excise duty rules
When energy products are used as raw materials, for the purposes of chemical reduction or in electrolytic and metallurgical processes they aren't covered by these rules.
In these cases, each EU country can decide if they want to charge tax on their use or not.
The main products that EU countries can choose to tax are:
- mineral oils
- solid fuels: coal, coke, lignite
- natural gas
- alcohols, if they are intended for use as heating fuel or motor fuel
- animal or vegetable oils, if they are intended for use as heating fuel or motor fuel
View the full list of excise duty rates applicable in the EU on energy products.
Higher rates, reduced rates and exemptions
EU counties may decide to choose a tax rate above the minimum EU thresholds, reduce the amount of duty payable or accept exemptions from paying duties.
EU counties can choose a higher tax rate for the following usages:
- Public transport
- Commercial use of gas oil (HGVs)
- Differentiation according to quality and quantity of the energy product, (e.g. the sulphur content of the fuel)
EU countries may grant tax reductions or tax exemptions for the following usages:
- 'Green' electricity
- Electricity from highly efficient combined heat and power generation
- Energy products used in combined heat and power production
- Navigation in inland waterways
- Electricity, natural gas, coal and solid fuels consumed by households
- Energy intensive business (certain rules need to be respected)
- Biofuels (certain rules need to be respected)
Tax exemptions must be granted for the following:
- Energy products and electricity used to produce electricity (these products may be taxed for environmental reasons)
- Energy products used as fuel for air navigation, except when used for private recreational flying
- Energy products used as fuel for navigation within EU waters, except when used for private recreational use
The following types of tobacco products are subject to excise duties:
- Smoking tobacco (such as fine cut rolling tobacco)
View the full list of excise duty rates applicable in the EU on tobacco products.